One of the things I like about Pro Football Focus is when they craft articles about a specific point of football (in this case, the deep ball) and show us some statistics that may challenge the way we think. For instance, one of the key features of a Matt Schaub Haters guide is that he can't throw deep balls very well due to his middling arm strength. Then you're supposed to say that Vince Young or whoever the advocate is just wins games, and Schaub doesn't. Well, the Texans may not win games (thanks defense!) but Schaub's deep ball might be better than you think.â†µ
According to PFF, Schaub was 21/48 on his deep passing attempts, good for a 43.75% completion rate, which was third in the entire NFL last year. Young was better (and the best in the NFL) by a whole two percent.
But before you start drawing up plans for an Al Davis vertical attack, look at the context that Schaub's throws occurred in. He threw only 48 deep balls out of 574 passes, good for third-to-last in the league. I don't think that Schaub is necessarily bad on the go routes, but Rick Dennison sure seemed to think so last season as the deep play-action pass that was a staple of the Kyle Shanahan offense faded into the background. Also, he has Andre Johnson to throw to. So, that helps tilt the scales in his favor a bit when it comes to deep passes.â†µ
Ultimately I don't think Schaub has one of the best deep balls, both based on visual evidence and the lack of attempts he had last year, but I think he may be closer to good at it than some are willing to give him credit for. The Texans offense had some growing pains last year, but Schaub wasn't part of the problem.â†µ